AvePoint achieves #1 spot in the Top 50 Microsoft Partners: an interview with Dux Raymond Sy

We’re no strangers to the world of Microsoft partners and their mission to attain digital marketing excellence. Fifty Five and Five has been ranking the digital marketing efforts of Microsoft partners since way back in 2014—initially through the annual Top 50 Report, presented in-person at Microsoft Inspire each year (oh how times have changed). Today, we rank partners through our all-digital Top 50 benchmarking tool which runs in real-time and gives a more accurate (and ongoing) picture of how effective their B2B marketing is.

Why benchmark your marketing activities?

Great question. Strategically planning your marketing has never been more important – and benchmarking plays a vital role here. It’s important not only to know your own strengths and weaknesses, but also those of your competitors. The Top 50 benchmarking tool works by analysing and assessing four key criteria of a Microsoft partner’s digital presence: content, website, technology, and SEO. Based on the scores awarded for each of these four criteria, partners are then positioned in the Top 50.

As we rank up to 250,000 Microsoft partners in our weekly updates, everyone who gets into the Top 50 is doing something special to get there. And these partners deserve to be recognised and celebrated. But rising to the top of our league table is an extra accolade.

AvePoint on industry-leading content: an interview

We sat down with Dux Raymond Sy, Chief Brand Officer at AvePoint, to discuss AvePoint’s approach to B2B marketing and how they rose to number one.

Hey Dux, congrats on the top 1 spot! Can you tell us a little bit about AvePoint's content strategy?

“Thanks James. AvePoint’s content strategy is focused on providing educational resources and sharing relevant knowledge to our audience. We publish blogs daily across four languages, release eBooks every two months and consistently host webinars every two weeks.”

How does AvePoint choose topics for its content?

“All of our content is focused around a theme we choose each quarter. This theme is based on industry trends and customer feedback – for example, for the first two quarters of 2022, we are focused on hybrid work and collaboration security.”

Which social channels do you use to promote content and how do you engage with your audience?

“We leverage Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok, serving various audiences. For Twitter, we connect with industry peers, partners and influencers to drive brand awareness. For LinkedIn, it’s used to engage with our customers, partners, fellow AvePoint colleagues and future employees. We share the latest and greatest about our business and also showcase our corporate culture, which drives brand advocacy. For Instagram and TikTok, we leverage it for storytelling and brand engagement.”

Thanks Dux. And lastly, what are AvePoint's top tips for SEO?

“First, focus on a handful of keywords that you want to rank in. Next, ensure that the content you create supports these keywords. Lastly, make sure that you have external links pointing to your content.”

And there you have it!

At Fifty Five and Five, we help technology companies grow their business, drive brand awareness and achieve their marketing goals. To learn more about B2B marketing best practices for Microsoft partners, get in touch with the team today.


Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers: The Rules of Engagement

In this month’s Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers: The Rules of Engagement we’re not talking about military tactics, or the TV show starring David Spade. We’re going to be taking a closer look at the Microsoft partners who have been nailing audience engagement.

As a business, engaging with your audience in a meaningful way builds trust and brand loyalty. It’s about how you interact with people via your content on social media, how responsive you are etc. So, let’s see who was making moves in October:

October’s Movers and Shakers

The formula that measures engagement in our Top 50 takes into account our Microsoft partners’ social channels, how much engagement they receive in likes, shares, comments and all the signifiers of a successful social engagement strategy.

Content + Cloud

At the head of the pack, it’s Content + Cloud, who took a huge leap up the engagement table this month, with a 22.9 point surge from 57.1 to 80. We were pretty blown away by this, so we asked Digital Marketing Manager, Faye Waghorn, what her secret is.

“Avoid posting for the sake of posting. Too many organisations are set on posting set amounts of times in a day or week, which can ultimately lead to the content you put out being sub-par. In my opinion, I would rather the team went a day without posting than gap filling with repetitive or irrelevant content”.

One way that Faye and the team have been nurturing engagement on LinkedIn is via monthly live ‘Meet the Expert’ sessions. Since starting the campaign last year, Content + Cloud have seen almost a 400% increase in followers over 9 months.

Finally, Faye shared her take on how to be heard above the background noise of social media.

“It's easy to get lost in a social network feed filled with over-used images and generic captions. So, dare to take some risks and stand out a little.”

Content + Cloud provides complete tailored digital transformations for businesses of all sizes. Their four-step approach; Transform, Evolve, Secure, Support, helps organizations to build sustainable transformation strategies that stick.

Encore Business Solutions

Encore Business Solutions are up 12.5 points from an engagement score of 35.7 to 50. They also moved up into joint 37th position alongside Kinetix Solutions with an overall score of 60/100. Well done, team! Keep up the good work.

Encore Business Solutions guide businesses through ERP, CRM and cloud transformation, as well as help with Azure and the Power Platform. They also offer pre-made Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions. Basically, if it’s Microsoft, they can help.

Plesk

Plesk also boosted their engagement score from 37.5 to 50 this month, putting them in 36th place overall. Their content, SEO and engagement scores are all on the uptick, so it’ll be interesting to see what they can do in the future.

Plesk’s flagship server management platform, Obsidian, gives you everything you need to build, secure and run your digital projects. It features over 100 extensions for specialist functionality and can be used by IT admins, web designers, developers and pretty much anyone who might need it.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise still maintain the top spot when it comes to social engagement. With a consistently high score each month, they’re dominating the engagement rankings right now. They’ve been at a steady 83.3 for some time thanks to a robust and well managed social strategy that puts customers first. They’ve really become the benchmark for engagement in our Top 50.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise are digital transformation and cloud experts. Whether it’s data storage as a service, compute as a service, network as a service, or software, HPE are highly knowledgeable in all things cloud.

Ledgeview Partners’ approach to social media interaction

It was a good month for Ledgeview Partners too, bringing them ever closer to the Top 50. Why is social media engagement important to them? We asked Digital Marketing Specialist, Julia Flaherty:

“LinkedIn is a place where we show and celebrate Ledgeview's core values, where we strive to provide a ‘business and technology education’ to our audience, and where we go to build and maintain meaningful relationships.”

Julia highlighted the importance of allowing your brand to have fun on LinkedIn, and how generating engaging content for social media is a whole-team effort. She said, “This exemplifies the authenticity of our brand and the character of our team.”

Finally, Julia spoke about the similarities between B2B and B2C and how they are often misconstrued as being in completely different stratospheres.

“We aren't just marketing to businesses – we're marketing to people. We're discussing with them, collaborating with them, and connecting with them.”

How do you compare?

Check in with our Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers each month to see how you compare with these social engagement masters. Or you can take a look at our live Microsoft Partner Top 50 leader board for more up to date results.

Want to appear among the Top 50? We can help you improve your engagement, create better content, and boost your SEO. Get in touch to find out how.


Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers: Masters of Content

It’s all about content in this month’s Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers special. Why? Because content marketing is a great way to increase organic traffic and generate conversions. If you have doubts, then check out our guide, invest in a content marketing strategy, and track the results over time.

Content, content, content! We miss you, Ballmer.

Content is an important pillar in B2B content marketing agency Fifty Five and Five’s Microsoft Partner Top 50, which ranks Microsoft partners based on the quality of their inbound marketing efforts. In this post, we present the latest highlights from the Microsoft partners who’ve made significant strides in their content scores over the last few months.

September’s Top Movers and Shakers

A Microsoft partner’s content score in the Top 50 looks at how well written their content is across all channels, as well as how easy it is to understand and consume. We’ll start by highlighting the great work of four Microsoft partners who’ve made impressive moves in the content department in September’s Top 50 scoreboard. Those partners are:

Beezy

Beezy have been flying high with a great content score for a number of months, but August and September have been particularly exceptional. In terms of overall position in the Top 50, Beezy have been ranking in double digits for a long time, but officially entered the single digit rankings in August. As of writing, they sit at #5 in the Top 50. Great work, team!

Beezy is an all-in-one Intelligent Workplace solution for Office 365. They help large, global enterprises like Monster, Bank of England and ZF to bring together Collaboration, Communication, Knowledge, and Processes.

CodeTwo

Alongside Beezy, CodeTwo entered the Top 50 for the first time in August. Their current overall rank is #38 and their content score has improved dramatically in the last few months (yes, we rank companies before they enter the Top 50 too!) Congratulations, CodeTwo! Onwards and upwards.

CodeTwo really express themselves on their homepage in a refreshing, and refreshingly simple, manner. They have coupled a simple opening statement of what they do with the backdrop of rolling footage of (what looks like) their actual office and employees, their customers and what they do for them. You could sit at this juncture of the website and understand who they are without having to navigate anywhere. Except maybe to the contact button. An excellent example of efficient communication.

Clear Measure

Clear Measure entered the Top 50 for the first time in September after months of climbing the ranks. Currently, their content score is the highest it’s ever been and their overall position in the Top 50 is #26. We want to see you in the top 25 next time, Clear Measure! You’ve got this.

Clear Measure is a software design and DevOps consulting firm. Since its inception, it has grown into one of the fastest-growing technology services companies in Central Texas and in 2016, it was #1 on Austin Fast 50, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in Central Texas. If you need to automate software delivery, modernize your current applications, build a new application or migrate to the cloud, these are services we offer to help you develop, deploy and manage with confidence.

Xperience Group

Xperience Group have long been on the border of the Top 50, sometimes making it in and sometimes missing just slightly. However, Xperience Group have now been in the Top 50 since August and have cemented a solid position for themselves at #28. Their content scores have been excellent, and we’re seeing consistent improvement. Solid work, team! Definitely a riser.

Xperience work with some of the UK and Ireland’s biggest brands, partnering with world leaders in technology to provide best-in-class digital transformation solutions across Cloud, Managed IT, CRM, and ERP. For a company comprised of digital experts, it's no surprise to see web and social assets that are eye-catching and informative. Check out their blog or LinkedIn profile to see what we're talking about.

BEMO on stellar content

This blog series aims to provide unique insight for Microsoft partners to help them achieve marketing success. This month, BEMO achieved their highest ever content score and best overall rank, currently sitting at #34.

Experts in cybersecurity and all things Microsoft 365, BEMO enable any small or medium-sized organization to conduct business securely in today's connected world. Visting BEMO's website for the first time, you'll come to appreciate the transparency offered when it comes to product pricing. Their cost calculator will ask a few questions about your needs and provide you with an upfront total cost – so you can either get in touch to learn more or continue with your search elsewhere. We love the transparency for potential customers – which is perhaps why BEMO isn't afraid to shout about their high star rating on Trustpilot either. Their blog and social channels are also filled to the brim with insights and useful content.

We spoke to Steve Gershik, Vice President of Marketing at BEMO, to find out their secret behind top-notch content:

"One of our goals as a business is to operate in a radically transparent way.  We use tools like SEMRush to help us with the technical aspects of attracting traffic to our blog, but our content strategy is about providing our customers with everything they could possibly know, do or think about when it comes to making effective use of the Microsoft Cloud."

Customers come first for Mercury xRM

Mercury xRM are another high-flyer in the Microsoft Partner Top 50. Mercury xRM have dramatically improved their content score over the last few months, and their current overall rank is #30.

Mercury xRM’s homepage performs that difficult balancing act of keeping the right information simple and not designing a boring website. Their website has a dynamic feel to it which is consistent throughout the site, the blog and social channels.

We reached out to Daniel Fox, Marketing Manager at Mercury xRM to understand what makes Mercury xRM’s content so successful.

"Our content, much like all our marketing, is formed by listening to the customer.  Understanding their needs, concerns and areas of interest gets you halfway there on the journey to writing engaging material. We plan our content in advance.  We find that having a plan that runs a month or so out allows us to continuously review and improve and react to unexpected opportunities that arise."

Are you in?

That’s it for this month’s edition of the Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers blog. Save our monthly updated Top 50 Microsoft partners site to see how you and other organisations in your space rank in terms of the quality of your inbound marketing efforts.

 

At Fifty Five and Five, we help technology companies grow their business, drive brand awareness and achieve their marketing goals. If you need help with your digital marketing, get in touch with the team today.


Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers: SEO Leaders

And just like that, another month passes us by. As summers go, it’s been a damp one. To awaken us from our damp stupor then, let’s shake things up with a slightly different look at this month’s Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers: the SEO Leaders.

We use a number of factors to determine the standings of our Microsoft Partner Top 50 – from content quality to social engagement. It all adds up to give a better understanding of how successful a company’s approach to marketing is. One of the key metrics taken into account is search engine optimisation (SEO). Everything that helps your website rank more highly on search engines is included in here.

But what makes for a good SEO performance? How do you boost your rankings? And is SEO worth it? We spoke to some of the partners with the best SEO scores in the Microsoft Partner Top 50 to find out.

How QorusDocs built their SEO foundation

QorusDocs is a proposal management software company, intent on streamlining the proposal process for businesses around the world. They’re currently in a solid 22nd place in our Top 50 and have the second highest SEO score of any of the partners.

We spoke to Jennifer Tomlinson, EVP of Marketing at QorusDocs and asked for the best search engine optimisation techniques. She responded:

“I’m a big believer in SEO and PPC in general, so we invested in a specialized performance marketing function that helps us navigate the ever-changing rules.”

Qorus rebranded to QorusDocs in April 2021. The company domain had always been Qorusdocs.com, so making the move to a standardised name and domain helped solidify the brand. This meant building a new website that is kept to current navigation and UX best practices.

“This really helped us set a new foundation for growth in SEO and with our PPC efforts…standardising on brand really helps everything function better.”

Jennifer emphasised the importance of taking a holistic approach, not just focussing on traffic or conversion rates on the website, but the number of conversations and conversions across all digital and social advertising.

“We closely monitor our SEO reports and advertising data to optimise, not just for great traffic but also for valuable conversions… This is how we gauge whether we are doing a good job each month with our investment in these areas.”

Consistency is key for LS Retail

LS Retail currently sit 41st in the Top 50 rankings, and with a solid 81.1 score in SEO, they’re in the higher echelons when it comes to search engine optimisation techniques. We reached out to Eloise Freygang, CMO at LS Retail to hear how they are improving their search performance and driving leads:

“During the past years, we have consistently worked on our website, with beautiful webpages and a clean, effective user experience that is easily discoverable in search. Also, we have put a lot of effort into driving traffic to our website, and the results are mostly due to the quality of the content that we produce.”

As Eloise also mentions, it isn’t possible to build a brand’s trust and credibility overnight. In the world of SEO, just like in real life, building a solid base of reliability takes time and effort, there aren’t any shortcuts.

“We have been steadily increasing organic traffic thanks to improvements and optimisation techniques applied to our own website, and other initiatives to improve our site's popularity, relevance, trustworthiness and authority”

This improvement in SEO also goes hand in hand with PPC. LS Retail continues to steadily increase paid search year after year, with a large effort going into creating and optimizing campaigns to increase lead generation. Eloise also spoke about the importance of content SEO:

“Content marketing is a cornerstone of our SEO efforts. We focus on quality and value rather than quantity, but we still produce and release a steady amount of new content in the form of blogs, product videos, white papers, customer stories and videos, web pages, and campaigns with third party thought leaders.”

Beyond this, social media marketing has proved to be an invaluable tool in LS Retail’s growth, reach, and brand recognition strategy. Paid campaigns on LinkedIn and Facebook have been key to some of the impressive results they’ve seen.

How Chorus stay ahead with SEO

Chorus are also at the head of the course when it comes to SEO. Lisa Treasure, Head of Marketing, talks us through their approach and what benefits the team has seen as a result of their search engine optimisation techniques.

“SEO is a significant component of our digital marketing strategy. A few key ways we ensure good SEO performance is to focus on great content, continuous optimisation and technical SEO.”

Lisa and the team know that keyword research and the right meta titles and descriptions are all vital, but what it all boils down to is creating content that people find valuable and engaging.

“We focus on creating articles and webpages that answer our audience’s questions and link to relevant resources, which naturally leads to increased backlinks, conversions and a higher domain authority”

Although great content is a crucial to achieving good SEO, continual input and other ‘On-Page’ SEO work is still required. Lisa expressed the importance of technical SEO practices:

“We have a range of analytics and SEO tools in place (e.g. Google Analytics, Moz) to track performance and optimise pages, using SEO best practices such as optimised page titles and meta descriptions, compressed images with alt tags, and good internal/external linking”

Getting the basics right is crucial for any SEO expert. It’s important to continually check to make sure theses benchmarks are being met. This ensures that all the hard work you put into your content is worthwhile.

“We make sure we review and optimise areas such as our site structure, XML sitemap, site speed, mobile usability, and we crawl for errors and fix them so that our site remains optimised.”

Check out the Microsoft Partner Top 50 and see how you compare

How does your search engine performance compare to these SEO leaders? Need help making your pages rank more highly? Looking for a hand with SEO optimised content? Get in touch and we’ll see how we can help.

Keep checking our continuously updated Top 50 Microsoft Partners to see how you and other partners are doing. To be one of the top-ranking Microsoft partners our list, you just need a good plan of action – a thoughtful strategy, a fool-proof schedule, and the resources (i.e. people with the right skills) to carry it out consistently. If you need help with any of your digital marketing, get in contact and we’ll be happy to help.


The Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers for July

July was a busy month for us here at Fifty Five and Five. Microsoft blessed us with a whole host of exciting announcements at their annual partner conference, Inspire; the team began returning to the office as restrictions in England started to ease (we even added some new office plants); and we also welcomed a new Writer to the team. The hustle and bustle never stops apparently – and we quite like it that way! So, it will come as no surprise to you that our all-digital Microsoft Partner Top 50 also saw some significant movement among partners in July’s scores on the doors. Shall we take a look?

July’s Top Movers and Shakers

We’ll start by highlighting some of the great work demonstrated by four Microsoft partners as they made some impressive gains in this month’s Microsoft Partner Top 50. Those partners are:

Aptify

Aptify made the biggest leap in July’s Microsoft Partner Top 50, moving up 76 places to rank #26 at the time of this blog post. Now that’s an accomplishment to be proud of. Great work, Aptify!

Founded in 1993, Aptify has years of experience providing powerful, flexible and comprehensive Association and Membership Management Software solutions globally.

Adatis

Similarly, Adatis made significant gains, moving up 72 places to rank #21 at the end of July –  just behind Aptify. Still, this level of growth a seriously impressive feat. A huge well done.

Adatis are a specialist Data Analytics Consultancy and trusted Microsoft partner, who help organisations unlock the power and value from their data to enable them to improve business performance, better serve and engage customers, empower employees, find efficiencies, and remain compliant.

Blue Horseshoe

Blue Horseshoe entered the Top 50 for the very first time at the end of June. Since then, they’ve consistently ranked in the top 45, ranking as high as #23 and now ranking around #30. Considering they’ve were ranking around #100 at the start of 2021, you can colour us impressed.

Blue Horseshoe empowers business transformation where it counts most. They help companies define and plan their enterprise strategy, connect and collaborate with business applications, and optimize and execute supply chain operations.

Concurrency

Again, Concurrency were ranking in the #100s at the start of 2021, and only entered Top 50 for the first time in May. They have since been climbing the ranks, and have now been ranking in the Top 30 since the start of July. Very solid work.

Founded in 1989, Concurrency is a business and technology professional services firm driving technology innovation and organizational change management.

Encore on a “culture of content contributors”

The aim of this blog series is to provide insight for Microsoft Partners to help them achieve marketing success. Encore have consistently demonstrated their marketing excellence in the Microsoft Partner Top 50 – so we spoke to their VP of Marketing, Natalie Armstrong, to find out the secret behind their top-notch content.

Hi Natalie. Congrats on shooting into the Top 15! Tell us – what is your secret weapon for such great quality content?

“We’ve created a culture of content contributors at Encore. All our team members feel a sense of responsibility to share their knowledge in their individual areas of expertise. The ongoing collaboration with our inhouse SMEs has enabled us to sustain such a high volume of relevant and high-quality blog content over the last 3+ years.”

Great stuff. How do you keep your content driving people back?

“As well as sourcing new content we also spend a considerable amount of effort reviewing and updating older popular pieces of content that drive conversions. In addition to prioritizing our time and energy on optimizing content and users page experiences we dedicate time and budget dollars on our marketing technology and using it to help drive results and dictate our next decisions.”

Thanks, Natalie!

Where do you rank?

That’s it for the July edition of our Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers blog. Bookmark our continuously updated Top 50 site to see how you and other Microsoft partners rank in the month ahead. And hey – you could even feature in August’s post!

 

At Fifty Five and Five, we help technology companies grow their business, drive brand awareness and achieve their marketing goals. If you need help with your digital marketing, get in touch with the team today.


The Microsoft Partner Top 50 movers and shakers for June

The month of June is one of our favourites here at Fifty Five and Five. For starters, it’s officially summer, Pride is all month long and the sport of tennis drops into our lives for two weeks thanks to Wimbledon. And this June, we’ve also been enjoying the European Football Championships. What’s not to love? So, in our mad summer haze of love and sport, we wanted to give a shoutout to a couple of Microsoft Partner Top 50 table success stories:

  • Rencore
  • Centric Consulting

If you are unfamiliar with it, the Microsoft Partner Top 50 is where we and our exclusive algorithm position top ranking Microsoft partners according to the strength of their digital marketing. We look at their inbound marketing output: their website, blog and social media presence.

Want a comprehensive look at the Top 50 up until now? Just in case you missed it, we covered the first half of the year (what, already!?) in a recent article. You can read it right here.

Two partners in profile

For a special June shoutout, we look at two top ranking Microsoft partners who have been consistently in our table and continue to either punch above their weight, and/or market themselves in line with their company values to great effect. Competing in a crowded field with much larger organisations is not easy, but Rencore do it with aplomb. Meanwhile, Centric Consulting are masters of building a brand voice.

Rencore

Headquartered in Munich, Germany and consistently growing since 2013, Rencore are experts when it comes to Microsoft 365 governance, “empowering everyone to reach business goals without friction.” The business is focused on helping customers stay in control of their Microsoft 365, Teams, SharePoint Online and Azure investments via the Rencore Platform solution.

For a team of 25 people in 2018, they pack a serious marketing punch and are a tremendously successful example of what good inbound marketing can do. At the time of writing they are in 11th place on our list, ahead of much larger brands like Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Rackspace, not to mention rival (and former Top 50 kingpin) ShareGate).

Rencore have the classic inbound marketing strategy patter down. Their website is clear and concise. They know their audience and the kind of content they will appreciate. At times, their content can be highly technical, but they are gifted at balancing being experts with being digestible – and dare we say... fun?

"We have an incredibly talented in-house team who work in a well-fostered, creative environment for producing new content ideas and designs and tailor them to our marketing channels and campaigns. In busy periods, we reach out to Fifty Five and Five to help support that effort, and they fit in seamlessly."

-        Matthias Einig, CEO and Co-founder at Rencore

Centric Consulting

Based in 14 locations across the United States, Centric Consulting provide top quality digital, business and technology consulting primarily focusing on business resilience and continuity. Something that’s ever more important in this day and age.

A company that began as an idea between three friends and grew organically from their living room before ever setting foot in an office, Centric are another terrific digital disruption success story. And their essential approach of “enjoying the people you work with, having fun and doing great work” is something that infiltrates its way into their marketing, too. Their position at 44th place, out of tens of thousands of partners, speaks to this core set of values. They have a top SEO score coupled with an almost equally excellent content score. Hop on to their website and be immediately engaged.

"For Centric Consulting, great content is rooted in three fundamentals. First, be timely and relevant, which includes paying close attention to the needs of customers and the market in general. Second, provide unique, helpful perspectives that provide value – arm your audience with information to elevate their work. And third, apply marketing fundamentals to everything – optimize all content for search, leverage a variety of marketing channels, and have a strategic plan that guides all activity."

-        Misty Walsh, National Marketing Director at Centric Consulting

Check out the Microsoft Partner Top 50 and see how you compare

Keep checking our continuously updated Top 50 Microsoft Partners to see how you and other partners are doing. To be one of the top-ranking Microsoft partners our list, you just need a good plan of action – a thoughtful strategy, a fool-proof schedule, and the resources (i.e. people with the right skills) to carry it out consistently. If you need help with any of your digital marketing, get in contact and we’ll be happy to help.


Man looking at Microsoft Top 50 partner stats

Microsoft Partner Top 50 – the highlights at halftime

We’re more than halfway through 2021, so, we thought it was the perfect time to take a breather, do some mid-season analysis, and look at the current state of play in our ongoing digital 2020/2021 Microsoft Partner Top 50 table. The Top 50 is where we and our proprietary algorithm rank partners based on their digital marketing.

Today, we’ll be casting a keen pundit’s eye over the movers and shakers, the surprises and the solid bets, and deliver some commentary on some of the partners that have done particularly well – and how they’ve done it.

Big risers in the league table

To kick off, let’s take a gander at some Microsoft partners who’ve made the biggest jump in the rankings this year. These partners have performed stunningly since October/November 2020, and that’s been reflected in how well their positions have improved since then.

Bizagi 

This partner, specialising in intelligent process automation, began outside the Top 130 back in Autumn 2020. But since then, they’ve been in and out of Top 10 at the turn of the year and have been Top 5 now since February. At the time of writing, Bizagi is the highest scorer for content, with an excellent, regularly updated blog, wide array of valuable downloadable resources, and more.

Catapult Systems 

IT services firm Catapult started well outside the Top 130 and have made steady improvement throughout. They’re now a regular Top 30 performer, ranking highly for SEO thanks to their highly optimised digital presence. They draw valuable traffic thanks to a broad scope of focus that targets many different customer industries and service areas, with all the right search touchpoints covered.

“This a great example of speaking to an increasingly business-focused audience.” – Catapult Systems’ Top 50 profile

TechQuarters 

TechQuarters, an IT support and Office 365 migrations company, had stayed mostly outside the Top 100 until recently, although they occasionally dipped into it. However, April saw a monumental leap, as they landed in the Top 10 and haven’t left it since. TechQuarters are also scoring very highly for SEO right now and are clearly winning big with both the search engines and visitors to their website.

Top 5 ever-presents

Nintex, NTT Ltd. and LiveTiles have been in the Top 5 since November 8th, with high all-round performance across our categories throughout the entire period. Each of these partners has long been well-known for their diligently curated digital presence, and we’re pleased to see them going from strength to strength.

Elsewhere among the top-ranking Microsoft partners, SkyKick has been in the Top 10 every week since the Top 50 was launched. A very strong showing from the cloud management software provider, and we’d attribute some of that to their spot-on tone-of-voice as well as brilliant work in content and search.

“Clear, consistent and full of value, they are doing inbound marketing the way it was meant to be done.” – SkyKick’s Top 50 profile

Always in the Top 20

The following partners have consistently remained in the Top 20. Many are familiar faces who have performed well in previous years’ Top 50s. They’ve outdone themselves this time, too:

harmon.ie – great social media presence and content

Pyramid Analytics – one of the very highest SEO scores

Veeam – engaging, detailed and valuable content

Sherweb – clear, compelling brand identity and value proposition

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) – excellent content and social channels

Automated Intelligence – expertise displayed compellingly and credibly

“Storytelling is crucial to generating a following on social media, and HPE are better at it than most.” – Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Top 50 profile

Special mentions

As our roundup draws to a close, we’d like to give a shoutout to a range of partners who have solidly stayed within the Microsoft Partner Top 50 all this time. There are too many to put a spotlight on individually, but each and every one has done great work cementing their positions so far:

ENow Nuix
Modality Systems BitTitan
Trend Micro Hitachi Solutions
Talk Think Do Cyber Ark
Cognizant Infragistics
Air IT Rackspace
Qorus Beezy
Okta ThirdSpace
KnowledgeWave Nutanix

There’s still everything to play for in the Microsoft Partner Top 50

We hope you’ve enjoyed our roundup. If you’re a Microsoft Partner and you weren’t featured, don’t worry – the game is still underway. Who knows what the next few months will bring? You could well be one of the top-ranking Microsoft partners in the Top 10 or even Top 5 next time we give our commentary.

Meanwhile, keep checking our continuously updated Top 50 Microsoft Partners to see how you and other partners are doing, and get in touch if you'd like help with your digital marketing.


How’s your B2B marketing? Introducing our Top Movers and Shakers blog series

Welcome to our new monthly series of blogs celebrating the very best B2B marketing in the Microsoft Partner Network. Fifty Five and Five’s Top 50 Report, first launched in 2014, ranks the digital marketing efforts of Microsoft partners, analysing and assessing four key criteria: content, website, technology, and SEO.

Now existing in digital form, the Top 50 runs in real time, updated on a weekly basis, to give you a better, more accurate picture of how effective your B2B marketing is. This provides a great way to measure your success and to benchmark against other Microsoft partners, including competitors.

Social: Looking for ideas on how to improve your social content? Why not see who has got the best social score this week and check out what’s lighting up LinkedIn right now.

Shout about success: Have you run a recent rebranding campaign that you’re really proud of? See if it has bumped up your score.

Measure your outcomes: Looking for another way to measure success for the next board meeting? You can point to your standing in our Top 50. We won’t mind. It’s what it’s there for.

Are you a mover? A shaker? ...a candlestick-maker?

Obviously, B2B marketing success is ultimately determined by leads and conversion rates. But rising to the top of our league table is an extra accolade. Just ask Bizagi, who currently sit in the number one spot. But it’s not only about who’s at the top. As we rank up to 250,000 Microsoft partners in our weekly updates, everyone who gets into the Top 50 is doing something special to get there. And these partners deserve to be recognised and celebrated.

This new blog series will focus on the movers and shakers within the Top 50, a dynamic look at what is going on in the world of Microsoft partner marketing.

Each blog will have a slightly different focus, and we won’t stick to a formula. Sometimes we might highlight the top 10 biggest movers or the top 10 overall scores for the month, but other times we might simply want to highlight amazing campaigns that have caught our eye.

Why benchmarking is so important for B2B marketing

It’s never been more important to strategically plan your marketing – and benchmarking has a vital role to play in this. You need a clear overview of your strengths and weaknesses, alongside those of your competitors. With data-driven insights, sourced from our digital Top 50, you’ll be able to track your marketing progress and keep an eye on the latest marketing trends as they develop. We can help you to stay ahead of the curve and realise your ambitions.

May’s Top Movers and Shakers

We’re going to kick this series off by highlighting the great work of the three partners who have enjoyed the greatest rise in this month’s Top 50. They are:

  • TechQuarters
    TechQuarters had hovered just outside the Top 100 for a while, but finally earned their place in the Top 50 at the end of March. Now they’re in the Top 10 – what a great achievement.

TechQuarters are a Microsoft Cloud Partner who work with forward-thinking organisations who are looking for reliable IT Support and want to modernise their systems.

  • CMIT Solutions
    It’s a similar story for CMIT Solutions who had been hovering around the Top 50 and now sit in 38th place, after a few months of solid, consistent marketing. Nice one.

CMIT Solutions provide essential IT services such as remote work support, cybersecurity and IT support.

  • Enhansoft
    Not quite as much of a meteoric rise as the other two, but still an impressive jump. Enhansoft have moved up from near 90th place and have become a regular in the Top 50 this month. As of writing, they are currently standing strong in 39th place.

Enhansoft give organisations the tools to take control your IT asset inventory, helping customers in the Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager community.

TechQuarters on “fresh content constantly”: an interview

In this blog series, we hope to provide value-adding insight and analysis directly from the Movers and Shakers themselves. This month, Fifty Five and Five’s James Woods sat down with Elly Smith, Marketing Manager at TechQuarters, to discuss how TechQuarters approach B2B marketing.

Hi Elly, congratulations on your current Top 10 position. What is the key to your marketing success?

“At TechQuarters, our key channels and focus areas for marketing are organic SEO and paid ads. We approach both with the mantra, ‘‘fresh content constantly’. For us, this means weekly blogs, videos across social media almost every day and updating content and advertising on a continual basis. The way we got to this place is by sticking to a plan in terms of quantity, analysing the results and learning from our mistakes.”

What have you found works best for you?

“We’ve found that short, sharp snippets of relevant information are what works; especially in an industry with new developments and information being released all the time. One of our goals is to be a source of continual education for both the partner and customer networks on our social channels. This was affirmed by our win of ‘Cloud Visionary of the Year’ at the last UK Cloud Awards. Spending a week crafting an article or video may mean you miss the opportunity to be one of the first to report on the latest trends, so speed is of the essence.”

How important are benchmarking and data-driven insights in developing your marketing strategy?

“Our process is definitely based on good groundwork and analysis over the years – knowing our audience, knowing what converts and also knowing our in-house capabilities. Now that we have these mastered, we‘re not afraid to try new things, as we know we have a good basis to jump off from.”

Until next time…

That’s all for the first of our Top 10 Movers and Shakers blogs. We hope to see you here next month for another celebration of Microsoft Partner marketing. Or perhaps you’ll feature as one of our Movers and Shakers next time around. We’ll have to wait and see.

At Fifty Five and Five, we help technology companies grow their business, drive brand awareness and achieve their marketing goals. To learn more about B2B marketing best practices for Microsoft partners, get in touch with the team today.


The 10 best company websites of Microsoft Partners

  • We ranked the top 10 company websites of Microsoft Partners
  • Inspiration for Microsoft Partners looking to rebuild their website
  • Learn what made the best websites do so well

Your website is your most powerful marketing tool. It’s the place you can get your brand across, tell your customers how you can solve their problems and, ultimately, create leads for your business.

Being technology companies, it’s no surprise that many Microsoft Partners have excellent websites. If you are looking for inspiration to improve or upgrade yours, there are few better places to look than our list of the ten Microsoft Partners whose websites both look great and host some top-quality content too.

How we ranked the websites of Microsoft Partners

Every year we carry out an annual review of the digital marketing efforts of the Microsoft Partner Network. We review the blogs, social media activity and websites of 39,000 Microsoft Partners worldwide who work in the enterprise IT space.

We built a tool which evaluates several website metrics, such as accessibility, content and speed to rank partners.

*Below are the top 10 best websites of Microsoft Partners according to our report (n.b. in the final Top 50 report, we aggregate blog, social media and website scores, so the top 10 in the report is very different to the list below).

Where companies achieved the same website score, we judged their position here based on where they finished in the full Digital Marketing Excellence report.

10 best company websites of Microsoft Partners

1. SSi Consulting

Score: 71

SSi Consulting create flexible accounting software based in the cloud, with an ambition to help companies increase productivity and efficiency in their daily accounting tasks.

SSi Consulting’s website made the top of the list because:

SSi want to "laser focus" on their customer needs and their website is a pure representation of that messaging. Simple and efficient without the bells and whistles, SSi tell their customers exactly what they can do for them.

What can you learn from SSi Consulting’s website?

Simplify, simplify, simplify. SSi waste no space, content or pages on anything but the essentials. Their website is so effective because it is so simple. Sure, not every website can be as simple and straightforward as this, but it should be the goal.

2. ShareGate

Score: 67

With headquarters in Canada, ShareGate is a leading provider of cloud-managed and migration services and are used by thousands of organisations worldwide.

ShareGate’s website made the list because:

Sharegate’s secured the coveted number 1 spot in the overall Top 50 report and their website played a big role in this achievement. ShareGate’s sleek website design grabs the attention and features the most effective structure of any website we surveyed, with the most direct and impactful information.

What can you learn from ShareGate’s website?

ShareGate’s website is a huge source of inspiration for Microsoft Partners selling specific products. We’re particularly impressed by their product pages that make good use of screenshots to demonstrate how their solutions work. Their inclusion of great customer quotes, FAQs and witty language combine to highlight their expertise and approachability.

3. Axon IT

Score: 67

Based in the North of England, Axon provide IT outsourcing services to clients and established themselves as the first company in their region to achieve Microsoft Gold Cloud Competency.

Axon’s website made the list because:

The first thing you notice when you arrive on Axon’s website is the phrase ‘Is your technology working hard enough?’ A direct question like this can provoke the right audience to consider their current situation and how Axon might have the answer they are looking for. This is all framed through a well-structured website design that neatly splits their services into ‘cloud’ and ‘managed’.

What can you learn from Axon’s website?

Axon showcase a great fusion of messaging and design to illustrate their bold and direct approach to helping their customers. From a succinct and informative home page, they’ve opted for longer form subpages where possible, meaning the website navigation avoids breaking down into reams of hard-to-find information.

4. Silverware

Score: 67

Silverware specialise in designing, implementing and supporting custom enterprise software for business management and enterprise resource planning sectors.

Silverware’s website made the list because:

Silverware have opted for a unique approach to their website. It stands outs due to their light-hearted but descriptive approach to their capabilities – matched with splashes of vibrant colours and creative images.

What can you learn from Silverware’s website?

For partners that want to inject a bit of personality into their website, look no further than Silverware. Adopting a bright colour palette and "fun" conversational copy sends a positive, warm message to customers and prospects alike.

5. CloudBerry Lab

Score: 66

Cloudberry Lab—founded in 2011—provide software, expertise and services that secure and protect the IT environments of small and medium-sized businesses.

CloudBerry Lab’s website made the list because:

CloudBerry Labs website features informative content that empowers the reader to discover more and educate themselves on the technology that’s best for them.

What can you learn from CloudBerry Lab’s website?

CloudBerry is a fantastic example of how an education-first approach to inbound marketing can really pay off. Their resource section breaks down into blogs for IT pros, blogs for MSPs, whitepapers and more visual educational content – showing how cementing your position as a thought leader can push you to the top.

6. Modality Systems

Score: 65

Communications consultancy and two-time Microsoft partner of the year, Modality Systems, helps clients realise the maximum benefit of their Microsoft investment.

Modality System’s website made the list because:

Modality System’s website is modern, sleek and easily navigable with a content-first approach that effectively draws the reader towards the educational material they need. The strength of their brand and the quality of their information contributes greatly to their exceptional score in this year’s report.

What can you learn from Modality System’s website?

Modality’s website concentrates on putting their customer’s needs first, rather than talking at length about the technology they offer. They show that when you focus on specific problems that technology can solve, you can frame the entire customer journey through a clear understanding of the ways in which their services create real value for the client.

7. SADA

Score: 65

As a global enterprise, SADA is an expert IT provider and consultant, specialising in enterprise consulting, cloud platform migration and custom application development.

SADA’s website made the list because:

SADA has done a fantastic job with their website. A simple design and great colour scheme combine with neat infographics and clear content that drills down into exactly what they can do and how their expertise can help their customers.

What can you learn from SADA’s website?

Aim for simplicity. This can be harder than it sounds – SADA provides a wide range of services which can be difficult to translate into clean-cut and precise copy. So, narrowing that down to the essential messages is a challenge.

8. Ledgeview Partners

Score: 63

Ledgeview Partners is a business and technology consultancy that specialise in a wide range of services dedicated to helping businesses provide a phenomenal customer experience.

Ledgeview Partners website made the list because:

The phrase ‘we’re savvy and personable’ appears on the Ledgeview Partners website, which encapsulates the two pillars of what makes their brand so attractive. There’s a wealth of interesting and useful information on the website, which combines their services with broader tips, guides and explainers.

What can you learn from Ledgeview Partner’s website?

Personality and brand play a big role in presenting your company to the world. Ledgeview’s friendly tone permeates through the entire website and it screams “we can help solve your problem”. A genuinely effective combination of friendly and professional makes it clear that the business is staffed by approachable people that mean business.

9. Ntiva

Score: 63

With a presence across North America, Ntiva specialises in cloud services, managed services and cybersecurity to ensure their clients always have access to the most responsive and efficient technology possible.

Ntiva’s website made the list because:

Design certainly played a major role in Ntiva’s website doing so well in our rankings. The clean, modern and simple layout is the first thing a user sees when they land on the homepage, which makes it easy for visitors to find what they're looking for.

What can you learn from Ntiva’s website?

Ntiva’s slick, simple and engaging website digs right down to the roots of what they do and why people “love” their products and solutions. Their great use of customer testimonials oozes credibility to show they’re an experienced business that deserves trust.

10. MCA Connect

Score: 63

MCA Connect’s goal is to align people, processes and technology to create award-winning Dynamics 365 and ERP environments.

MCA Connect’s website made the list because:

What makes MCA connect stand out is the way they are so consistent in the fundamentals of website best practice. Being rigorous and consistent when updating your site, being mobile-friendly, connecting with social media profiles and using strong page titles all help. Create a checklist of everything you can do to tweak and improve your website on a regular basis.

What can you learn from MCA Connect’s website?

MCA Connect has an incredibly well-designed website – it’s clear that a lot of thought and planning has been put into the design and user experience. Every box has been ticked here in terms of design, content, SEO and navigation. Pages are elegant, content is concise and navigation is easy.

Ready to take your website to the next level?

Great website design involves a close mixture of technology, design and content. If you don’t have the time or resources,  speak to us today about our website design capabilities.

Need a lead-generating landing page?

We can help! Talk to us about your business and the specific barriers you come up against when trying to generate leads.

Get in touch


Top 50 Microsoft Partners 2019/2020 report

Top 50 Microsoft Partners 2019/2020 – Report released today

  • The 2019/2020 Top 50 Microsoft Partners have been announced!
  • Come by stand #616 at Inspire in Las Vegas for your free copy or keep reading to download it now

The highly anticipated date is upon us. The fifth edition of the Microsoft Partner Digital Marketing Excellence Top 50 Report is here! Would you like to know how your company fared? Are you interested in discovering who has come out on top of this year’s highly competitive rankings?

If the resounding answer is yes, then you’ll need to get a copy of the report!

Now, there are two ways to do this. You can either download a free copy of the report here, or you can pick up a hard copy at the Microsoft Inspire event in Las Vegas, NV.

If you are attending Microsoft Inspire this year, why not swing by stand #616 and say hello? The Fifty Five and Five team will be there, handing out the report and letting you know the latest marketing insights from across the Microsoft Partner Network.

We’re more than happy to chat with you about our key findings, the method behind our rankings and why we believe digital marketing is so key for today’s business success.

 

What is the Top 50 Digital Marketing Excellence Report – and who won it this year?

Each year we rank the digital marketing efforts of Microsoft Partners and publish an extensive report that celebrates the best marketing in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

As the only report of its kind, the Top 50 Microsoft Partners 2019/2020 analyses and ranks thousands of Microsoft Partners based on their blogging output, website quality and social media engagement.

Here at Fifty Five and Five, we’ve been super busy crunching the data of 24,000 partners. The content team have been profiling the Top 50 partners, outlining how certain companies achieved their spot and noting new entries in the report. Meanwhile, the design team have been working hard on a brand-new look for the report, and the SEO team have been ensuring that content (just like this post!) is being found by readers like you.

For the third year running, Gavriella Schuster (Corporate Vice-President of the One Commercial Partner Organization at Microsoft) has written the foreword to the report. Gavriella cites it as a great resource for partners looking for examples, case studies and marketing best practices from their peers:

“By comparing websites, blogs and social media practices, partners can see how their marketing efforts compare to benchmarks set by the best in the Microsoft Partner Network; how companies like theirs are succeeding and making the most of inbound marketing practices.”

The Top 50 Digital Marketing Excellence Report is much more than a simple ranking list. We encourage Microsoft Partners to use the report as a benchmarking guide; the websites, blogs and social channels of the Top 50 being great examples to follow.

Even better: the report is positively brimming with insights, analysis and interviews to give a full picture of exactly what is required to achieve marketing excellence.

The winner this year?

It’s none other than Sharegate!

Sharegate is a leading provider of cloud managed and migration services. Their place on our list is largely down to their impressive blog score, which was the single highest of any partner surveyed.

“Hitting the top spot in the Top 50 report isn’t new for Sharegate; in fact, they’ve been here before. But after an impressive rebrand and an entirely new website, launched just a few months ago – their return to the top spot will no doubt be even more satisfying.”

Pick up the Top 50 at Microsoft Inspire

Microsoft Inspire takes place from the 14th-18th July in Las Vegas. We’ll be there all week at stand #616. Feel free to swing by to say hello to our team and discuss the latest announcements from Microsoft, alongside the latest in digital marketing and – of course – the Top 50 Report.

We highly recommend attending the panel discussion in which our founder Chris Wright will be discussing the secrets to content marketing for Microsoft partners, alongside Jennifer Tomlinson (Sr Manager at Channel Marketing Microsoft), Marc-Andre Fontaine (VP Sales and Marketing at SherWeb) and Paul Hsu (Marketing Director at Nintex).

We are also going to be providing masterclasses at our stand this year. We’ll cover a range of interesting topics, including tips for building landing pages for sign ups and methods for improving your ranking in Google in 2019.

I’m not in the report, what gives?

For the first time, we have used a single platform (the Partner Benchmarking Tool) for testing digital channels. The Digital Marketing Excellence Report lists the top 250 Microsoft Partners based on their website, social, and blogging – which are each weighted to create an overall score. The top 50 get a special mention in the report, as it’s undoubtedly a remarkable achievement.

It’s worth noting, however, that we ranked 24,000 partners this year. This means that any company in the top 250 positions can consider themselves in the top 1% of the Microsoft Partner Network when it comes to marketing!

It also means that if you didn’t feature in the report this year (or even if you dropped out) then you shouldn’t be disheartened. There are only so many places available, and it’s been a hugely competitive year.

If you’d like to see your company appear in next year’s Top 50, now is the time to put in place a great marketing strategy. This year’s report has lots of tips and ideas that you can start using today. Chris Wright, Founder of Fifty Five and Five, says:

“Microsoft partners are improving their digital marketing efforts year on year – to be among the best, you need to take it to the next level. If you’re not in this edition of the Top 50, hopefully we’ll see you in next year’s.”